You know it’s time to get rid of your bed bugs when they burst open at the slightest pressure.
This is a bed bug egg and they are very sticky. Your first round of treatment may not kill eggs and is why you need to re-treat your home a few weeks after the first application.
This black hard material is bed bug poop. The fecal matter (dried blood) should stop appearing once you have eliminated the infestation.
I know what you’re thinking, it can’t be as simple as 4 steps, right? The fact is, people fail to rid themselves of an infestation simply because they don’t have the patience; if you have the patience, I’ll show you how to do the rest.
A common misconception is that hiring an exterminator makes it easy but the truth is, you’ll still be doing all the prep-work which is often the hardest part of the process. Can you guess who the exterminator blames when treatment doesn’t work? You, and your prep-work, so read that contract carefully!
People dealing with infestations have been sharing their success stories with me for more than a decade. Drawing on these successes, I’ve put together the following 4 easy steps to get rid of bed bugs with each step containing printable detailed instructions.
1. Clean Cracks and Linens
Clean every nook and cranny with the wand of your vacuum. This seems like a no-brainer, but people forget screw holes, gaps in baseboards, and cracks in the wall are hiding spots for bed bugs (print our list of places they like to hide). Clean all your linens, even the teddy bears, everything in hot water and dry them on high heat if clothes permit. Do NOT take the clothes to the laundromat or you risk creating a problem for someone else.
*Print our full list of treatment preparation steps you must follow.
2. Bug Proof Mattress & Make Trap
Get your mattress and box spring off of the floor by placing them on a frame with powder and double sided tape around bed rails along with bed bug traps to catch anything trying to climb into your bed. Also use the right protective mattress cover to seal it completely or you risk the bed bugs spreading.
3. Spray Secret Bed Bug Powder
Okay, it’s not a secret but most professional exterminators would rather you not know about it, or not believe it. Print out instructions on how to make and spray your own powder. The main ingredient is Diatomaceous Earth, a natural, inexpensive pesticide that you can buy at your local store for less than $15. This is what many pest control companies rebrand and sell as an ‘organic’ solution with a ridiculous price markup.
4. Repeat Treatment
In order to kill all the bed bug life stages, you MUST retreat your home 3 to 4 weeks after your first treatment. If you only treat once, you may kill the adults, but then the eggs hatch and you’re stuck with another infestation; some people claim they they did it in two, but play it safe, save yourself a ton of frustration, and stick with three treatments.
Print out the the list and preparation steps in item #1, get the right mattress cover in #2, apply the natural pesticide in item #3, then repeat the process twice 3 to 4 weeks apart.
Below are the types of treatment professionals use and their associated costs.
Also, check out Tom’s success story and how this worked for him, and, what mistakes he made that you’ll want to avoid!
You’ve got this!
Avoid these Four Extermination Mistakes
Types of Treatment Used by Exterminators & Cost
These are the more expensive methods used by exterminators to eliminate bed bugs.
Steam Treatment – $1,500 average
The average cost of steam treatment is $1,500 and is often combined with a chemical spray insecticide such as d-Phenothrin, a non-systemic insecticide effective on contact. A mist, thermal fog, aerosol, or ULV application may be used in place of spaying.
There are mixed opinions about bed bugs’ ability to detect insecticide; because of this, some companies are now using Chlorfenapyr which is non-repellent and active for a short time.
If you’re going to buy your own steam cleaner, it’s suggested that you select one with the following features:
- Produces low vapor, high-temperature steam.
- Dry steam (it will still be damp. Air out after to prevent mold).
- Use a machine that has a continuous flow to avoid “reheat” downtime.
- Steam should not be too powerful so that bed bugs are not blown deeper into cracks.
- Use a steamer with multiple jet steam heads
During steam treatment, you need to be as close to the bugs as possible and move about 1 inch per 10 seconds; just a few centimeters is all it takes to decrease the temperature to a nonlethal dose. The steam head should be moved along at a rate of only 30cm per every 10-15 seconds.
Start with the mattress making sure to treat the seams, labels and any other attachments. Next, move to the chairs and sofas taking care with cushions, seams, and buttons. Pull out beds should be treated just like a mattress. Continue to surrounding areas and then move out.
Do not steam electrical outlets as the steam head may make contact through steam or by directly coming into contact with wires.
Heat Treatment – $3,500 average
The average cost of heat treatment is $3,500 and quickly kills bed bugs by exposing them to temperatures greater than 45°c / 113°f; the heat needs to reach that temperature as fast as possible or the infestation will scatter into the next room or floor above.
When using heat to control your infestation, remember that some material is more resistant to heat than others, such as your mattress or couch; if they are in there, the temperature may not be as hot as the surrounding area.
WARNING – This is not something you want to try yourself! Some items will explode, such as an aerosol label warning about storage at temperatures greater than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. 114 degrees Fahrenheit is the recommended temperature which will kill bed bugs so care should be taken not to exceed this temperature! Also, consider photographs and other heat sensitive materials.
*Note that Amazon has a bed bug heat treatment chamber if you want to do this yourself.
Cryonite Treatment – $500 per room
The cost of cold treatment is $500 per room on average and is a chemical free, non-toxic solution to eliminating bed bugs that may have become resistant to pesticide.
The product used for this is called Cryonite which looks like an oxygen tank on wheels with a nozzle. Cryonite is carbon dioxide snow that freezes the inside of bed bugs on contact; death occurs when the snow crystals land on the bug and convert to CO2 gas, a reaction that requires energy that is taken from the bug causing their cell water to crystallize to ice.
Freezing is poisonless and has the following advantages of other methods:
- No need to evacuate the area
- In kitchens, pest control can happen while food prep continues
- Can be used on surfaces in direct contact with food
- Hotels can rent as soon as treatment is complete
- No chemical smell or dust to attach to surfaces
- No cleaning after treatment necessary (but it can’t hurt)
- Hospitals and nursing homes can function during treatment
You’ll still have to bag clothing, wash with hot water (120+), clean, and vacuum before treatment, but the results are well worth it.
Fumigation Treatment – $5,000
The average cost to fumigate your home is around $5,000 which is a canister (aka smoke bomb) that generates large amounts of smoke filled with Permethrin Synthetic Pyrethroid Insecticide to get rid of the infestation.
Once the smoke bomb is activated, you will not be able to return to the property for at least four hours (each product has a different time). If used in one apartment and not sealed correctly, extermination may cause the infestation to move to the adjoining apartment.
Integrated Pest Management Cost (IPM) – $100 per month
The average cost of Integrated Pest Management Cost (IPM) is about $100 per month which is basically a month fee for monitoring bed bugs. Many of the professional pest control companies will combine the treatments above with an IPM plan that involves setting up bed bug detectors that alert the company of a reoccurring infestation so they can come out and eliminate the bugs before they multiply again.
Inspection – $125
An inspection will cost about $125 and the accuracy depends on the technician’s training and experience. There are a number of stories where nothing turned up on inspection but the when a bed bug sniffing dog (which costs about $350) was brought in, the infestation was discovered and eliminated after treatment.
No More Bedbugs! My Success Story
by “Tom 1303”
Four months after moving into my new home I noticed my feet had little bites on them which I dismissed as chigger & mosquito bites. We searched the house and found bed bugs.
My wife and I panicked which is the first thing you should not do. We went to war! We purchased an air mattress after throwing out the infested one, cleaned everything, bought glue pads for our four post bed and waited a month. My son started showing bites, and we realized the infestation moved to his room.
We gave up and hired an exterminator to get rid of the bed bugs once and for all. He came out and treated both rooms. It didn’t work so we had the exterminator re-treat. Still didn’t work and the infestation spread.
I decided to check on heat treatment and found it was going to cost about $3,500. So that was out.
I called Terminix who said it would run $1,200 and they would finance it but only offered a 30-day guarantee. If the treatment failed and we didn’t discover it for 30 days, then we would be stuck paying a monthly fee for nothing, so we looked elsewhere.
I did a lot of research and ended up buying insecticide for around $100.00 which you mix with water. I also went online and purchased a Steam cleaner for 90 bucks at Walmart. (be sure it gets over 140 degrees).
We lifted the couches and sprayed underneath, the box springs, mattress, floor boards and cracks. We formed a moat of the spray around all our beds which dries.
We then bought some Diatomaceous Earth from Ace hardware (food grade) and spread it underneath the bed between the mattress and box spring. In the cracks of the bed frames. In the electrical outlets (took off the face plate and put it in the hole of the wall around the outlet *be careful*), and anywhere else bed bugs might hide.
A week later our steam cleaner arrived, and we steamed everything! The bed bugs were dead!
My family is “bite free” and sleeping well. I feel the bed bug dust and steam cleaner are helping me get rid of them one battle at a time.
I will never laugh when I hear someone say they are afraid of bed bugs ever again. I had the same fears as all of you have had. I was scared someone would see a bug crawl on me at work, or I would bring them to work and infest the office.
I know it feels like you will not make it through, but trust me, if you keep at it and be persistent you can kill them them.
I wish you all the best of luck!